Culzean Castle is a bit further afield but definitely worth the trip. The castle is set in stunning grounds with views across the isle of Arran (and other islands in the vicinity) and Ailsa Craig. There are long walks along the cliffs of the Ayrshire coast, along lakes and ponds, walled gardens and even to a port.
The grounds in itself are worth spending at least a day in. In fact, there is so much to see and do that one visit surely can’t cover it all. In the walled garden, visitors can relax and find out about plants, there is a plant sale to take some unusal plants home. Various ponds and lakes offer wildlife habitats to explore and the adventure playground alone will keep children entertained for hours.
On our recent visit we were wise not to try to cram to much into the day and to follow the lead of the kids. My 4 year old was keen to get close to some very tame deer, then insisted to see the castle from the inside, followed by picnic outside. We continued our day by playing a bit at the fountain just outside the castle. Later went along the cliff walk where we found some raspberries to pick for an afternoon snack, and finished off the day in the walled gardens; promising that next time, we’ll makes sure not to miss out on the adventure playground.
There are two places for food and also a candy shop, so it’s not necessary to take food. Though it’s actually much more fun bringing your picnic and eating it in a beauty spot.
Culzean Castle makes for a perfect day out, and will make you want to return. The main drawback is the cost if you’re not a National Trust for Scotland Member. Two visits to the castle alone will get your money’s worth off your annual membership.
The castle is easiest reached by car; it takes about an hour from Glasgow. For public transport, Maybole train station is 4 miles east (with a cycle route nearby) and Ayr is 12 miles north; with a bus servicing the castle.